Sherburne B. Abbott
Vice President for Sustainability Initiatives and University Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy, Syracuse University
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The Honorable Sherburne Abbott is vice president for sustainability initiatives and University Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy at Syracuse University. In 2014 she was appointed by Governor Cuomo to the board of the New York State Energy Research Development Authority. From 2009 to 2011 she was the Senate-confirmed associate director for environment and energy in the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the Executive Office of the President, responsible for coordinating federal R&D for environment and natural resources. She headed a White House initiative that led to restructuring the national polar orbiting environmental satellite system, helped establish the first National Ocean Policy, oversaw the US Global Change Research Program, and cochaired the first White House–led interagency task force on climate adaptation. She also headed the US delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was US cochair of the International Group on Earth Observations. Previously, she was a member of the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, chief international officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, assistant scientific director of the US Marine Mammal Commission, and, over a 17-year period that overlapped with Robert White’s tenure as NAE president, director of the NRC’s Board on Sustainable Development, Office of International Organizations and Programs, and Polar Research Board. Ms. Abbott earned her AB in biology from Goucher College and master’s degree in environmental science and natural resource policy from Yale University, where she was a Dodge Fellow in Human-Animal Ecology.

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